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Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus

Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH) is a cause of progressive dementia that includes three primary symptoms: (1) progressive cognitive impairment, (2) gait and balance difficulties, and (3) urinary frequency and/or incontinence.

Early recognition and treatment is essential for NPH because the symptoms of many patients can be reversed with treatment.

Diagnosis usually involves a variety of tests, including brain scans (CT and/or MRI), a spinal tap or lumbar puncture, intracranial pressure monitoring, and neuropsychological testing. Some of the known risk factors include head trauma, infection, tumor, or post-surgical complications.

Normal pressure hydrocephalus is more common with advancing age. It occurs if the normal flow of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) throughout the brain and spinal cord is obstructed. This causes the cavities that contain CSF (the ventricles) to enlarge, putting pressure on the brain.

NPH is treated by draining the excess CSF from the brain.

For more information about Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus, please visit the Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus Center.


Hopkins clinicians recommend the Alzheimer's Association web resource known as Carefinder, It outlines how to plan ahead for patients with memory problems, and identifies care options, support services, and guidelines for how to coordinate care for persons with memory disorders. This interactive web-based tool permits you to identify resources that fit your needs.

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